Create a Shared Virtual Office to Collaborate With Co-Workers

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Those of us who are fortunate enough to have the option of working from home are now several months into this new lifestyle. Like a lot of things, there’s the good (no commute!), the bad (competing with other members of your household for flat surfaces to use as desks), and the ugly (when I catch a glimpse of myself in Zoom meetings). And if you’re someone who does their best work while collaborating with someone else, this new arrangement may be an especially difficult adjustment. Fortunately, there’s a way around this.

In an article in the New York Times, Julie Weed provides tips for succeeding in an office job when there is no office. One strategy is to re-create an “in-person” office experience with a co-worker while working from home.

According to Ann Herrmann-Nehdi, the chief executive of Herrmann, a multinational company that creates tools to help employees communicate better—and who was interviewed for the Times article—people who do their best work collaborating in the same room with a work partner can use technology and block a few hours to “share a room.”

Whether it’s sharing a screen on Zoom, working in Google Docs, or taking advantage of some of the temporarily free conferencing tools currently available, having that virtual space to be able to have some version of the office set-up you’re used to can help. As Herrmann-Nehdi points out in the article, this allows you and your teammate to see each other, share documents and screens, and have a virtual white board for ideas.

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Even if you think you should be used to this (apologies in advance for using this term) “new normal,” that doesn’t mean you actually are in practice. It can be a major adjustment from the office environment you’ve spent years or decades working in, so give yourself a break if there are aspects that don’t work for you. In the meantime, check out our extensive coverage on working from home for more strategies for making your time as productive as possible (all things considered).